POWER Act could empower law enforcement to fight off deaths of despair

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October 31 2021 11:59 pm

Wheeling, W.Va. (WTRF) – When the call comes in for an overdose—there’s no time to think.

First responders have to move quickly to save lives from today’s opioids—which are much more powerful than they used to be.

But as they rush to revive those who have taken these deadly poisons—they risk their own lives by coming in contact with them.

We need to protect our law enforcement in all circumstances and be supportive, whether it’s their security, or their health security.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R)-West Virginia

Representing the state with the highest overdose death rate, Senator Shelley Moore Capito understands this.

That’s why she and both Ohio senators are co-sponsoring the POWER Act, which would give advanced drug screening devices to law enforcement in small communities.

It signifies the power to quickly do three things—

Detect fentanyl, alert the health department, and get opioids off the streets.

Ohio congressman Sherrod Brown says right now there’s often a delay before an arrest can be made, because officers have to wait for drugs to be tested.

And sometimes waiting three or four weeks because these labs are underfunded and understaffed.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, (D)-Ohio

Senator Brown calls it an issue that defies party politics—because it’s a problem that crosses both red and blue states.

While he says it won’t be cheap, it’s a necessary step to undo the devastation addiction has created.

We need to get these to police officers all over and county sheriffs in Belmont and Jefferson and Harrison and Monroe, and in the West Virginia, Pennsylvania side too, all over the states, all over the country.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, (D)-Ohio

The devices that would be given out are the same ones provided to agents at the southern border.

That’s where much of the current fentanyl supply comes from—and the effect reaches all the way to the Mountain and Buckeye States.

The problem in Ohio right now is that there is more of this poison coming in to our communities than there used to be because of our southern border being so open. So we’ve got to deal with that.

Sen. Rob Portman, (R)-Ohio

Senator Portman adds that opioid deaths and overdoses were beginning to decline, before the pandemic reversed that positive trend.

But with a bit of federal investment, police could be set for a post-COVID comeback against these deaths of despair.

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